Burning Coal: How Did It Begin for You?

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whistlenut
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Post Thu. Jan. 03, 2013 10:17 pm

Interesting read....sure seems like we all had to experience the pain of wood before the light bulb snapped on.
Thanks for sharing....and where are the ladies that burn coal? I know of 20, don't be shy.
All of us went to the 'Learn As You Burn Vocational-Technical Institute'. Some may have spent toooooooooo many hours with the pop top cans and/or the left handed ciggie's. :oops: :shock: :idea: :o :roll:
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dcrane
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Post Fri. Jan. 04, 2013 4:59 am

It started for me when I was about 10 years old and my father started dragging me around to coal dealers and stove shops around southeastern ma. (the first one I remember ws Williams Coal in Braintree), We spent what seemed like days their with the owner showing us every model stove, every pile of coal, teaching us all the features of stoves he liked and all the flaws of stoves he didn't. From that point within weeks My uncle Paul (who owned a start up welding shop in Brockton called Welding Craftsmen started building a stove which we then installed in our home for testing, we would bring that lil' sucker back and forth several times to my uncles shop were he would cut off the top and make it talller or add channels, baffles, etc. and then more testing... this thing looked like Frankenstein by the time it was done :shock: but it worked! within a year or two my uncle pauls shop was spitting out the model 44 by the thousands and he had to buy a bigger shop in Braintree to keep up production and at that time it was my job at 12 years old to run almost every stove coal stove made of the era... petit godins, chappee's, russo's, chubby's....they kept coming into the house at feverish pace to attempt overfires, overnights, shakes, etc... the model 404 was then born! By the age of 15 I had experienced more coal stoves then most people see in a lifetime :D

This is how it all began for me...

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Dennis
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Post Fri. Jan. 04, 2013 7:30 am

It all started very young at home,all my uncles and dad sold firewood.when I became a teenager,that was the greatest thing cutting,splitting,stacking and helping deliver firewood along with the couple bucks back in school.Then after graduation I would sell firewood to help the beer funds.When I bought my first house in 1990,I first started with fire wood,and had a chitty stove pipe and had many chimney fires,standing outside at 2 am. drunk with a hose watching the cedar siding blistering.during the house renovations that chimney was tore out and heated with oil.3 years a go I needed a new boiler and got the woc-55 and was going to burn "free wood",I didn't have any seasoned wood,so started with coal to try and never looked back. :dancing:

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oros35
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Post Fri. Jan. 04, 2013 10:27 am

I bought a house, with all electric heat. I needed a form of backup heat free from the grid.

Started researching, didn't know much about coal. Found this forum. Learned alot more. Did more research.

Learned about the antique parlor stoves from this forum. I was hooked. It was a toss up between a modern stove and an old one. Found the one in my avatar for the same price as the modern one I was looking at. So it followed me home.

It's been a steep learning curve (didn't have anything other than oil furnace growing up) but it went from a backup form of heat, to heating my whole house for 1/2 the cost of electric.

Without this forum, I would not be heating with an old parlor stove. maybe not even coal at all.

newbie in ny
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Post Fri. Jan. 04, 2013 9:18 pm

[quote="whistlenut"]Interesting read....sure seems like we all had to experience the pain of wood before the light bulb snapped on.
Thanks for sharing....and where are the ladies that burn coal? I know of 20, don't be shy.

Thanks for the encouragement Whistlenut as I am somewhat shy!
Back in the mid eighties,my husband and his best friend would cut, split and haul wood all summer for next years heat (had an oil furnace for backup, but the wood was free) They did this for years.Then my husbands best friend had a fatal heart attack at the young age of 51.This of course devasted my husband but also concluded his cutting, splitting and hauling wood as he didn't have anyone that was interested in all of this hard work! I didn't want him in the woods by himself.
We sold the wood furnace and installed a propane(yikes!) furnace. We live in the sticks, no NG available and electric is pricey. At the time propane was less than $1 gal.
As time goes by, propane is steadily increasing in price. My husband had some medical issues ( brain tumor) he was out of work because of the tumor. Money was tight, college loans for kids, etc., etc..........
The TT was never set any higher than 65 and I hated it! I needed a second job to pay for propane!
Daughter marries, we have a new son in law who by the way is very frugal, smart but frugal. They buy a house immediately next door to us . He talks to an Alaska stove dealer at the state fair 5 or 6 years ago and decided to buy a coal stoker stove for his home. (always looking to save money)
The son in law gets his stoker, shows me how it works (and really how little labor is involved with it) I fell in love! The heat! OMG!!!
I told my husband that I wanted a coal stoker stove, he wanted no part of it. He said if I wanted one, then I had to take care of it. (I think he thought there was a lot of work involved with it) Come hell or highwater, I wanted to be warm!
I found a nice Harman mag, husband and son in laws installed it in the basement and haven't had any cold winters day since!
My stove is different from the alaskan, so to help me with my learning curve, I got on the internet, found this site, learned alot and realize that this site has some very intelligent, funny and downright nice people on it!
I admit, I don't post much, I'm a stalker, but if I need to know anything about coal/stoves I know where to find you guys and I'll find my answer! Thanks to all!
By the way, I have now graduated to a koker 160 and this winter husband is now in charge of tending the koker! I check manometer, flyash accumulation etc. until he gets more comfortable with it! Thanks everyone!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

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Short Bus
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Post Sat. Jan. 05, 2013 12:08 am

Dad and I were in a scrap yard in Cle Elum Washington, in the mid seventies, I had seen steam radiators but this one had doors and grates, it was a Parlor Arcola sectional boiler. We brought it home, found a leaking 80 gallon hot water tank, fixed the leak, mated the two with 2" pipe, filled it with water and put some wood in the fire box, with very poor results. We took it to the gold mine in Alaska, and dad picked up three barrels of coal. The rest is as they say is history. We were in the sticks fifty miles from a phone, 90 miles from electricity, and at the end of 15 miles of private road. One spring we were about three miles from the mine and we came to a creek with three people covered in soap getting ready to rinse the soap off in the creek, we stopped our 6x6 they came over. Dad didn't say hi or anything he just said we will have the water system working later today, come by tonight for a shower. We had a gravity water system and a propane lights, miners came from miles around to shower. We had it all from explosives, heavy equipment and a tunnel, probalby good they kept a short leash on 12 year old me, running that boiler was my job and made my contribution important.
If it was as easy as burning oil, everybody would be burning coal.
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Enjoy it for what it is worth.

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331camaro
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Post Sat. Jan. 05, 2013 1:29 pm

burned oil for 2 seasons, first yr wasnt terrible, but the second yr prices went way up, we could barely afford to keep the house 60-65. started looking at pellet stoves, wood stoves, handfed wood/coal boilers for some stupid reason I was convinced I wanted to burn wood! had really no idea which direction I wanted to go, just didnt want oil, or propane lol. then I discovered this website, and got in touch with my local keystoker dealer. he gave me names and phone numbers of many people who run keystoker boilers in my neck of the woods and they were kind enough to let me to see there set up, and continued to guide me in the right direction. soon the project went from tearing out the oil boiler, and replacing with the new coal boiler to, installing the keystoker in my new shop, putting radaint floor heat in, and heating both buildings with the new boiler. well I probably more than doubled the installation cost by doing that and at first the wife was furious, but now I have a 1200 ft shop that easily maintains 57-60 and a house at 72. which we would have never dreamed of setting the thermostat at 72 with the oil burner. I couldnt be happier with the set up.

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Richard S.
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Post Sat. Jan. 05, 2013 1:41 pm

Burning Coal: How did it begin for you?
Well back in late 1800's my Great Grandfather settled in the Wyoming Valley, been burning coal for heat ever since except two years ago because of unavoidable circumstances. :)

He started delivering coal with horse and wagon, this picture is from the late 20's or early 30's as best we could date it. It really depends on who the kid is which is uncertain, the kid is one of two brothers whom would be my Great Uncles both alive today. The older man to the very left is my Great Grandfather. The man second in from right standing is my Grandfather.

This in on Sweitzers lane in Plymouth if you're familiar with the area. That's a small alley off of Vine St. In the background to the right is the Gaylord Breaker which would be the current location of the flood protection on Washington Ave.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

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franco b
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Post Sat. Jan. 05, 2013 3:28 pm

How young your Grandfather looks. How was coal delivered in that open truck? Burlap bags?

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I'm On Fire
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Post Sat. Jan. 05, 2013 3:46 pm

Mine was literally by accident. I was having my oil furnace serviced and the clown broke the pump on it. I happened upon this forum to ask for help on how to fix the pump. One thing led to another and I started reading about coal. I decided I got tired of oil heat, my ineffecient oil furnace and burning wood. I bought a coal Chubby Sr and enjoyed the heat from it until the temps dropped below 25• and then my furnace would run. I then traded the Chubby for coal and bought my DS 1600 and have never looked back.

franco b
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Post Sat. Jan. 05, 2013 4:56 pm

In 1974 the price of gasoline and fuel oil tripled. For someone interested in alternate fuels as I was, it was a golden age. There was excitement as first the Jotul stoves were imported by a young woman who remembered her heritage and got rich. Then there were the Vermont Casting stoves designed by an architect which were beautiful.

Wood was great except if you wanted to burn relatively clean you woke up to a cold house.

In about 1982 I got my first coal stove and I still remember the feeling to have a warm house in the morning.

Since then I have acquired 6 other coal stoves both antique and modern just to try the relative merits. Like many in this forum I am an enthusiast. I still haven't found the perfect stove but looking and trying is a lot of fun. The problem is one stove might be outstanding in one area but not as good as another in another area.

jkabdoors
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Post Sun. Jan. 06, 2013 5:29 am

My wife and I had a new Modular built in 2011 and with most of them they are all Electric. Told her that I talked to people about coal and wanted to give it a try. Went to a few local dealers and I wanted something that my wife can take care of with ease. They all said a stoker is the way to go and here our 2nd year and can't be happier. Jeff

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Richard S.
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Post Sun. Jan. 06, 2013 12:18 pm

franco b wrote:How young your Grandfather looks. How was coal delivered in that open truck? Burlap bags?
Truthfully Franco I never thought to ask, I'd imagine they did it however was easiest. Up until you get into the seventies 1 ton orders were the common thing but you were only driving down the block with it. I would imagine they hung chutes off the side and shoveled it onto the chutes too. if you look at a lot of the houses in this area they are built very close to the road. I know at one point in time they had conveyors but I don't know if it was in then. You have to remember that particular truck was not just used for coal but anything that had to move, lumber etc.

I've sat down with one Uncle who might be the kid in that picture for hours and listened to stories though. There is Brother in the middle I helped before he died and that was late 90's, that was 50's truck and you needed to be an engineer to drive it. LOL. It had a 4 or 5 speed transmission but the transmission had three speeds if that makes sense, this secondary shift was not meant to be shifted while moving but there was a way to do it. It also had a split splitter. The motor had less than 100 horsepower but you could go up any hill with it... slllllllooooooowwwwlllllllly. You never really switched the transmission, normally you just left it in high but that was cool if for example you need to go over curb or something, you could just let it idle over the curb. It would go that low.

Not sure of the dates n these, the sky looks faked because it is. Early attempt at fixing it.:

Sometime in the early forties:
Summer work, these are paying passengers probably out to Harvey's Lake or somewhere else out that way:
Late 60's, my Grandfather is on the left:
Early 70's, that's me on the left, my cousin and my Uncle John whom I worked for.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein

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SMITTY
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Post Sun. Jan. 06, 2013 12:34 pm

Love the pics Richard! Love looking at the old trucks. Looks like you guys have plenty of family pics. Pics on my dad's side of the family are hard to come by, while on my mom's side we've got letters and pictures back to the very early 1900's.

Looks like you've got about 3 - 5 years on me from that 70's pic. ;)
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Richard S.
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Post Sun. Jan. 06, 2013 1:01 pm

That's from about 74.
"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."

- Albert Einstein


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